Power Allowance Issue , cant turn bulb back on with normal light switch after power allowance shuts it off

I have one cree connected bulb and one ST hub…thats it. brand new from the box with no other automations. I am testing it to turn a light off after x minutes.The issue is when it turns off via power allowance…i have to turn on the bulb thru the mobile app. I want to be able to turn it back on with and old fashioned light switch and then power allowance will turn it off again after x minutes. Basically a timer…but for the world of me cant find any info on this. If someone turns the hall light on…i want it to go off after x minutes…then that person be able to turn the light on again when in the hall at a later time…any ideas???

You should use smart switches, not smart bulbs if you want to still be able to use your light switch.

There are two separate issues here.

First, as far as power allowance goes, you’re right – – once it’s in place it’s in place. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around it. Instead of applying power allowance to the bulb itself, apply it to a virtual timer. That way the bulb is still available to control in any other fashion. There’s a how to article in the community – created wiki that explains how to do this: :sunglasses:


Second, as was mentioned, it’s not generally a good idea to use a conventional switch to cut the power to a smart bulb. You will shorten the life of the bulb, as they are not intended to be used that way. ( See the manual.) They need to always have power. Otherwise they won’t be able to hear the next “on” command from your home automation system.

There are a number of ways to address this issue, see the following FAQ. It applies to any smart bulb, not just hue:

thanks for the quick response. I havent thought about the smart switch, (dimmer) as i was trying to cut down cost…bulbs are typically cheaper than switches…but i may have to go that route. I added more bulbs…cree and hue. hue I am able to get it to actually work the way i want it…the cree is still failing. to reiterate…light bulb is essentially on an off timer after x minutes then a manual turn on ( or off) with an old fashioned light switch.

Virtual switch, this is my second smartthings to test so i did do the virtual switch on the first one. I also tried this again with the second ST. the problem is the i have to trigger the VS to come back on in order for it to work. in other words…when the VS is off…i have to use the app to turn it back on OR trigger something to turn it back on, time of day, motion, ect. I dont want this. its redundent because i programmed the VS to go off after x minutes then i have to trigger it to go on or use the app to turn it on. when the vs is off…i cant turn the light on manually.

I can either :

  1. use the hue bridge and bulbs as it works with a timer off function and manual switch

  2. use a smart switch (dimmer)

I heard the cutting power off manually shortens the life of a bulb…not sure how much. Any thoughts on all of this?

Update, I have not been able to get the cree bulbs to work this way, manual switch on off with power allowance timer after x minutes. I was able to get the hue bulbs to work this way with the hue bridge. I also tried osram A19 white bulbs which work like the hues, WITHOUT an additional bridge. Therefore, if you want this setup buy the ST hub and osram bulbs. They work with manual switch and the power allowance timer to turn off after x minutes. The hue works too but you have to spend another 50 bucks for the hue bridge. I did not try any other brands other than the hue, cree and osram bulbs. One other thing, I wasnt successful in using a virtual switch as stated above due to the switch having to be turned on from the app or some trigger. Also, not sure how it shortens the life of a bulb with manual power being cut as its still a led light. Lastly cutting power to the bulb manually (switch) will not trigger an event like if you have your fish tank bubbler to stop bubbling say if your hall light turns off and then your GF cuts power to that switch manually…it wont trigger the bubbler no more. dont use this if you plan on triggering events to your bulbs as your cutting power to that switch which the hub wont recognize, making that trigger bulb dead. If you dont have a fish tank bbubler…and want a simple p allowance timer with manual on/off switching…osrams work with no additional hubs!

Inrush current to the zigbee radio which is inside the bulb base. That part does not exist in a regular dumb LED.

If you look at the canary bulb smart app which is addressing the issue of a power outage causing all lights to come on bright, you’ll see that he discusses some of the brand differences there. You’re right that some brands report an on power event and others do not. Cree in particular don’t appear to report an on power event.

Adding a smart app to the cree bulbs that polls the bulbs might help. e.g (pollster or the smartbulb power outage handler)
I think that when the app polls the bulb and the changes the state to “on”, it should trigger the power allowance to shut the bulb off in x minutes. (“should” is the key word here, not 100% sure on that)

do you know how much it shortens it? meaning is it significant?

It’s going to be significant, which is why the manufacturer’s all tell you not to do it. (See your user guide.)

How significant will probably depend on the exact combination of bulb, fixture, and usage patterns. But essentially you’re overheating the radio every time you turn the power back on instead of letting the bulb control its own current flow. If it happens every once in a while, no big deal. If it happened several times a day, it’s going to be an eventual issue.

I kinda agree with you…but also it makes no sense…so back to square one…smart bulbs are only meant to be automated!!! This defies the logic of invention of a light bulb. There meant to be turned on and off. Whats the difference if the power is being turned off via switch or via the app…its still losing power?? Even with using a virtual switch (which I will comment on shortly) , its still cutting power to the bulb…i dont get how it heats up the smart sensor differently (or whatever) if you cut power either way…its still heating and cooling.

i was able to use a virtual switch as mentioned above to use trigger the bulb to turn off after x minutes and then the virtual switch to be turned back on (bulb still off) immediatley with using any app (automated). Also, if you manually want to turn the bulb on (old fashioned switch) you can…then the virtual switch will turn it off again after x minutes and the cycle continues. I can do this for the rest of my life with ever picking my phone up or tablet or whatever. However you still are turning the bulb on ( or off if you like) with the old switch…hence cutting power on one stage of this. Before, i was just automating the bulb itself without the virtual switch. get this…I did this by automating the virtual switch to turn on if turned off :slight_smile: . I then made another automation for power allowance to this virtual switch. lastly, i paired the bulb to this virtual switch…so when the bulb turns off (x minutes), the VS turns off, then back on immediatly so it is ready to turn off the bulb on the next cycle when you manually swtich the bulb off.Think of someone flipping the master breaker of your house and immediatly turning it back on…this is the same difference. if any one wants…i can give you step by step settings on how to do this. i created a virtual relay basically with power allowance

It’s not a sensor. It’s a radio. There’s a radio in every smart network device. That’s how it communicates wirelessly.

These radios are intended to be always drawing current. That’s so they can hear the next “on” command from the network even if the device appears to be on.

This is true of both zigbee and Z wave devices. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a light switch, an in wall receptacle, a relay, or a lightbulb, the design expectation is that the radio will be always powered.

There’s a special issue with lightbulbs because of what is called “inrush current.” If you’re interested in the technical details , Google it. It’s an ongoing issue for anyone designing light switches or lightbulbs. And now with your network devices you stuck a radio in it.

A lightbulb is a lightbulb to some extent – – but a smart lightbulb is a lightbulb plus a radio, and that does change things.

It’s not about the heat from the bulb. It’s about the inrush current when you first turn the device on.

But they’re your bulbs and your money, it’s your choice. There’s not a safety issue here. If you want to turn the power on and off at the switch, you certainly can, but then you have shortened the life of the bulb Device because of continually subjecting the radio to inrush current when it’s just not designed for that.

But again, your choice. :sunglasses:

Thanks for your insight…I am just going to test it out and see. I still havent read or heard anywhere where you shouldnt use it to shut off like a normal bulb though. I may update on how this goes. I just bought a house with knob and tube wiring and I would of rewired it and just put hardwired sensors in…but figured this was the cheapest and easiest way to go due to my Gf and son who dont know how to flick a lightswitch back off when they leave a room :frowning: On the plus side…i plan on using a lot of landscape lighting (no switches!) and possible water and thermostat devices so this opens up those areas for me as well…thanks!

Read the user manual for the bulb. It will tell you the bulbs are intended to be on power all the time. That’s true of all the different brands.

As far as switches, there are a number of battery operated switches available now which can work well with smart bulbs. That solves the problem of having a switch on the wall that doesn’t cut the power to the bulb. There even two different designs which fit right over the existing switch, no wiring required, so that guests and kids have a switch right where they expect going to be. But again, your choice. :sunglasses:

ok, i am now using the osram A19 regular led bulbs. a few things:

  1. i still havent found anything about it shortening the life of the bulb if you manually turn a switch on/off. in fact in two places on osrams website it states opposite encouraging you to use it as such. i cant comment on other brands: here’s the links and text from osram:

Can I turn my light on and off also without using a smart device?
> Yes, that is possible by using a light switch. Please note that you will not be able to control the light that is switched off with the smartdevice anymore. Full functionality is available only when the power is switched on.

Can I switch LIGHTIFY components using the “normal” light switch?
> Yes. When operating LIGHTIFY components using a normal light switch, the lamps behave as standard LED lamps. After switching on via the “off/on” network, they switch on at 100% again in warm white (2700 Kelvin). If lamps are switched on and off via the app, the lamps switch on in the previously selected mode.

as you can see you lose the app features if you manually turn them off…understandable.

  1. virtual timers- i tested this and dont see a difference in using a virtual timer to program the bulb versusjust programing the bulb. Actually, the difference is a much more automation steps using the VS. the way i had it programmed i needed 3 automations to turn the light off after x minutes with VS. manually i only needed one automation. now if one bulb you wanted 3 timers say, (for daytime, nightime and peak time at night 5-9pm) to turn off after x minutes you would need 9…yes 9 automations for this single bulb. manually you would need only 3 automations…big difference. I also dont see the difference if your using a VS to program the bulb to go off or programing the bulb itself to go off…therefore i nixed the VS.

  2. I have gotten everything to work quite well. Bulb on/off manually or with app, timers on after x minutes, dim capable still…however, i noticed the timers dont always work after x minutes, (power allowance). i cant make head or tails out of it as its sporadic. Same thing happened with the virtual switch timers also when i had it programmed that way. I think it has something to do with the polling. i used pollster also which didnt help. i might add that timers are not accurate ONLY when i use a manul swithc…using the app is 100% working. On the other hand, timers work using the manual switch most of the time…so i know it works. The state of the switch when using manual isnt always accurate in reporting to the app i. e. on/off. for example, right now im at work and my one light is manually turned off…but reporting that its on…i think this is what is making the timers faulty sometimes. Any ideas on this and if its a polling issue?